Challenging how tobacco is sold in Australia

Becky Freeman
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00544
Published online: 20 November 2017

Despite being addictive and deadly, tobacco is widely accessible in all communities

Given that two-thirds of regular smokers in Australia will die from smoking-related causes,1 tobacco is remarkably available and easy to purchase. Tobacco is sold in every community, on every high street and in every retail precinct. Australian consumers can freely purchase cigarettes in the same places where they buy healthy household staples such as fruit and vegetables, milk and bread. With an estimated 40 000 outlets selling tobacco across Australia,2 it is one of the most widely accessible consumer goods on the market — yet the most dangerous when used as intended. While Australia has delivered crippling hits to the tobacco industry’s ability to promote its products, we have yet to land even a glancing blow to how and where it sells its products.

  • University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW



On 31 May 2017, I attended the Tobacco Retail Summit hosted by the Cancer Council New South Wales. Australian and international speakers and participants discussed reforming the tobacco retail sector and I am indebted to their collective wisdom in helping inform this commentary.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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